June Clark’s solo exhibition at The Ringling marks the Harlem Quilt’s first presentation at a US museum since its unveiling at the Studio Museum in New York City in 1997. It is a re-introduction to this immersive installation, which consists of over three hundred individual pieces of fabric, each with a black-and-white photo transferred onto its surface.
Clark left Harlem for Canada at the height of New York City’s riots and political unrest of the late 1960s. Once in Toronto, the artist began making photographs and co-founded the Women’s Photography Co-op in 1972. Her dedication to photography was recognized in an artistic residency at the Studio Museum in Harlem from 1996 –1997 where Clark produced her seminal piece Harlem Quilt. In Harlem for the residency and coming to terms with being home, Clark made photographs of street scenes, building facades, people, and store windows in New York City neighborhoods between 110th and 168th streets. Harlem Quilt expresses the artist’s deep love and sensibility for Harlem’s community through a unique method of quilt-making where a lightbulb above each image creates a sense of intimacy and commemoration.
Works by Clark on canvas and paper ranging from 1994 to 2022 are also presented in this exhibition. They offer an engagement with issues affecting Black communities in Canada and the United States and allow a broader understanding of Clark’s oeuvre as a record of social history.
This exhibition is located in the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art.
Image: June Clark (Canadian, b. United States, 1941), Harlem Quilt, 1997 (detail), fabric, photo-transfers, lights. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Daniel Faria Gallery, Toronto.
Paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.